Fisheries

Fish stocking

On May 3rd, 2021 the DNR performed an electrofishing shock survey on Lake Orono to help determine the fish population post-dredge. There were over 14 different species collected and the majority of the sport fish present were Yellow Perch, Crappie and Northern.

Stocking 2021

To supplement the current fisheries, the DNR approved stocking the lake with Bluegill Sunfish, Crappies, Yellow Perch, Walleye and Bass. They also offered to stock walleye fingerlings depending on availability of the fish at no charge. If we stock per their recommendations we will likely reach our target goal of replenishing the fish population in 3 to 5 years.

The supplier that was chosen to stock the fish has over 30 years of experience and previously stocked Lake Orono after the dredge in 1998. The 2021 fish stocking was funded directly through the Lake Orono Restoration and Enhancement (LORE) project with the logistics assistance of the OLID Board. The OLID has provided funding since.

The fish were stocked at staggered dates, due to timing of fish spawn, availability of adult fish and to transition them into the lake successfully. There have been several reports from all areas of the lake of spawning beds and thousands of baby fish that have hatched. Links to videos of stocking: https://youtu.be/M_SWMyfxwmE and https://youtu.be/Sa-ywiz3tVI.

2022
Stocking
2021
Stocking
Total
Stocking
Adult Blue Gill200200
Blue Gill, 3-6″1,6003,8005,400
Adult Large Mouth122020
Large Mouth Bass, 3-5″2,0002,000
Perch, 3-5″300300
Walleye Fry281,000*281,000
Walleye Fingerling200200
Adult Crappie1,3452001,545
Grand Total290,665
*Stocked by DNR

Future Stocking: The OLID plans to pay for additional stocking in 2023. The MN DNR plans to stock walleye fingerlings (approx. 4,000 – 5,000 fish) in Fall 2022.

Catch and Release

In order to ensure success of the stocking, the OLID was given permission from the DNR and City of Elk River to post signs requesting that anglers practice voluntary catch-and-release while the stocking occurs. Our goal is to educate anglers so the new fish have a better chance at survival and spawning.

Successful Catch-and-Release per the DNR’s website:
Responsible catch-and-release fishing can help ensure continued quality fishing opportunities. Anglers can boost the odds of fish surviving catch and release by using methods that avoid internal damage caused by hooks, stress and being pulled from deep water.

Fish stocking sign
  • Fish hooked in the mouth almost always survive. Set the hook quickly to avoid hooking a fish deeply. Jigs, circle hooks and active baits like crankbaits are more likely to hook a fish in the mouth.
  • Use some restraint when fish are really biting, and it is a good idea to avoid deep water when planning to catch and release fish.
  • Have pliers ready that work well for taking hooks out. Cutting the line and leaving the hook in the fish is also a good option.
  • Quickly land a fish to minimize a fish’s time out of water.
  • Handle the fish firmly but carefully. Wet your hands before touching a fish to prevent removal of their protective slime coating. Rubberized nets help, too.
  • Unhook and release the fish while it is still in the water, if possible, and support its weight with both hands or with a net when removed from the water. Never lift them vertically from the water.
  • Do not place fish you plan to release on a stringer or in a live well.
  • Revive a fish by cradling it under the belly and gently moving it forward in the water until it swims away.
  • Do not release a fish that can be legally kept if it is bleeding heavily or can’t right itself.

General info

Lake Orono is fairly shallow but does have a couple of spots over 15 feet deep. The Elk River runs through it, therefore many of the fish are transient. Pan fish and game fish that are normally found in the lake include crappies, smallmouth bass, northerns, and occasionally a walleye or two.

For DNR fish surveys, please see:
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/showreport.html?downum=71001300